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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The magic number is 40!



Or is the magic number really 31?

The green flag will drop to start the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season in just 40 days!

Oh how long it seems since that gut-wrenching moment in Homestead, Florida when Kevin Harvick crossed the finish line with Ryan Newman just a half-second behind him. What a season for the two of them, after seemingly switching rides. It appears that both made the right decision; Harvick to Stewart-Haas Racing and Newman to Richard Childress Racing.

For me, the best part of Harvick's win was when Newman came up to him in Victory Lane, wearing that characteristic smile Newman Nation has come to know and love, congratulated his friend on winning the race and the championship that Newman wanted so badly he could taste it.

The best part of Newman's season was his stellar performance in the Chase, as he raced his way to the season climax. Some of the ugly remarks during the controversy that surrounded Newman's nail-biting upset to make the final round without winning a race during the regular season was galling, but in the long run may prove the point Newman fans have always known; Newman is a top-notch driver who is capable of winning a championship. Now, everyone else knows what we know!

In the past, little has been said about Newman during the course of a race. Sure, his performance was talked about during career extremes, like when he won the Daytona 500 or the Brickyard 400, but rarely does he fly on the radar screen of television analysts. Someone should compare the times his name is mentioned in comparison to that of Dale, Jr. or Jimmy Johnson. The difference would be stunning. Even as a Newman fan, it is sometimes difficult to follow his progress on the track because the guys and gals in the booth don't follow him. Without gadgets like in-car radio and cameras, it would be next to impossible to follow Newman's progress during a race. Instead of unbiased coverage, certain TV personalities simply gush over their favorite drivers.

As an example, Newman was pretty much written off by them in the first elimination of the chase. Hah!

Newman Nation know what Newman is capable of. His driving prowess came as no surprise to us. We knew how hard he was driving his race car, every single lap. We heard the frustration in his voice when things went awry during a pitstop for example, or in the rare instances when he made a costly mistake. We paid attention when Newman was three laps down yet finished the race on the lead lap in the top 15. So, when it looked like Newman was surprising everyone with his awesome run during the Chase, those of us that have followed him were not surprised at all. We were just pleased.

So to say that there is great anticipation for the 2015 season, is putting it mildly. So, on to February 22, 2015, the first race of the season--the Daytona 500.

It is just 40 days away. It won't be long now!